Reading Slay the Spire discussions on Steam has given me insight on resistance to updating based on evidence. I am used to this in political discussions, where people often double down when presented with counter-evidence, but seeing it in the microcosm is remarkable.
At any given time, there are usually threads on the front page arguing that (1) some element of the game is too difficult and/or impossible and (2) that the game as a whole is too difficult and/or impossible. There is also a mix of people who mean “impossible” literally or as hyperbole. #1 is usually one of the boss fights, and people complaining about a particular element rather than the game as a whole are usually more open to advice. “Yes, that boss does 75 damage in a turn if you give it 12 rounds to power up and use no damage counters. Here are six tactics for defeating it, and here are some videos.” They might still see the boss as too difficult, and certainly each of the end bosses is designed to punish a certain playstyle, but it is hard to dispute that at least 54.4% of players have beaten each of the final bosses.
“Hard to dispute,” I say, but people do. A game where the majority of owners have beaten it is frequently described as “impossible.” In each of these threads, someone will reply with screenshots and video links, or perhaps typed lists of beginner tips. You can also see people very tired of seeing a new version of the same thread each week. “Git gud” really does apply to Slay the Spire, and you can see my own journey from “dying in the first level” to “winning pretty consistently” in the Slay the Spire category here. If you’re working on that yourself, you might be interested in JoINrbs’s “overexplaining” series on YouTube, talking through each step of the game on the highest difficulty.
I suspect many people take “git gud” personally. If I am failing, something is going wrong. It can’t be me. Therefore the game must be wrong. Pointing out that it is you is therefore a dishonest personal attack. Doing so with detailed evidence of what you are doing wrong is just evidence of a toxic environment full of fanboys. When people disappear during these negative threads, I wonder what mix we have of people who quietly took the advice, people who had no response and stormed away, and people who never really joined the discussion after the initial complaint (don’t worry; there is always someone ready to pursue a complaint).
This is probably where someone should call me a hypocrite for what I say about Hearthstone. In my defense, I would say that my main critique about Hearthstone’s dungeon runs are their randomness. There are large swings that are mostly outside player control. But you can get better. And even were the game a complete roll of the dice, eventually the dice come up in your favor.